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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 10 PM), December 22, 1996

    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/
    All texts are Copyright 1996 Radio B92. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    NEWS BY 10 PM


    Despite the near freezing temperatures in Belgrade today, the 33rd
    consecutive protest march organized by the coalition Zajedno again
    gathered tens of thousands Belgraders. Carrying, as on previous
    days, banners, kazoos, party whistles, and flags of all kinds, the
    demonstrators paused in front of the state television, Radio
    Belgrade and the newspaper ``Politika,'' setting off dozens of
    firecrackers at each stop.

    The final part of the protest took place in Belgrade's central
    Republic Square. It began with a minute's silence to mark the
    death of Miodrag Popovic, member of the Serbian Academy of Arts
    and Sciences, one of the best known contemporary Yugoslav
    painters, and, as was emphasized at tonight's rally, a great
    fighter for democracy in Serbia.

    Addressing the demonstrators, Zoran Djindjic, leader of the
    Democratic Party, said that the counter-rallies organized by the
    SPS [the ruling party] have shown that the Socialists do not have
    grassroots support. He said it is obvious who has won the
    elections -- all that needs to be done is make the shift in power
    with as little fuss and turmoil as possible. ``Serbia will enter
    the 21st century in the first week of 1997,'' said Djindjic. He
    went on to condemn the SPS for staging their counter-protests at
    noon and said that ``these meetings were attended by idlers and
    malingerers who received wages for the time they spent riding on
    buses. When we come to power, you will have work and won't be able
    to stage noon-time protests.''

    Vesna Pesic, leader of the Civil Alliance of Serbia, pointed out
    that the theft of public funds which has been going on for the
    last few years continues even while the protests are taking place.
    She said state money was being channeled to bank accounts abroad,
    for example to Cyprus, and that those responsible will have to
    answer for their actions.

    Leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, said that
    ``those who've been humiliated by having to attend Socialist
    rallies will soon turn on the authorities with bludgeons.''  He
    added that the state television cannot help the regime any more,
    for ``people from all over Serbia are coming daily to Belgrade
    protests and they can see how many of us there are.''


    At its protest gathering in front of the School of Philosophy
    tonight, the Steering Board of the Student Protest '96 invited all
    those who have participated in or addressed the student protest to
    gather at this square Tuesday noon -- the time set for the
    Socialist rally at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers in
    Belgrade. They stressed that students want no clashes with the
    police, but added that they will not allow a state of emergency to
    be enforced. They announced they are planning their biggest
    protest march to take place on Tuesday.


    Over 15,000 Nisans turned out today to protest the nullification
    of the local electoral results. Vice-president of the Democratic
    Party, Slobodan Gavrilovic addressed them, saying that the
    counter-rallies are ``an attempt by the authorities to keep us
    living in the past as they commemorated Stalin's birthday in 40
    cities of Serbia.'' Vice-president of the Serbian Renewal
    Movement, Ilija Radulovic said that the opposition will not lower
    itself to the methods used by tyrants and dictators, for democracy
    cannot be built on bloodshed.


    Several thousand citizens of Sabac gathered for the 22nd
    consecutive protest against the nullification of local electoral
    results. After a protest march through the streets of their
    hometown, they were addressed by Zajedno representatives and
    informed that the Sabac-based coach and transportation firm ``7
    Jul'' is preparing some 40 buses to take people to rallies in
    support of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade
    Tuesday. The transportation company is acting on orders received
    from the regime.


    Two rallies took place in Prokuplje today. One began noon, by
    gathering of some 3,000 Zajedno supporters in the city center, who
    proceeded to walk down the city streets peacefully. The other
    began 1 p.m., and as the Manager of the Regional Board of the
    Serbian Renewal Movement, Bratislav Jovanovic claims, gathered
    some 1,000 people who, he said, came mainly on buses from other
    towns. This rally, in support of the Serbian Socialists, was over
    within 30 minutes. He said there was one moment when the situation
    was on a verge of violence, but Zajedno guards averted this. The
    next Zajedno rally in Prokuplje is to take place tomorrow.


    34th consecutive protest meeting of Zajedno supporters was held
    tonight in Jagodina. Some 5,000 people gathered in the city center
    and then ``promenaded'' its streets.


    Russian ambassador to Belgrade, Vladimir Sestov said today if the
    tensions between the authorities and the opposition in Yugoslavia
    continue to grow more serious, this might lead to clashes among
    the states formed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia and
    make the Dayton accords fall flat, with negative consequences for
    the whole of Europe.

    Sestov, a Russian representative in the OSCE mission that visited
    Belgrade, pointed to the ``dangerous stubbornness of both the
    authorities and the opposition.'' ``This makes the solution to the
    present crisis more difficult, for the conflict can be solved only
    by Serbs themselves,'' he told Radio ``Voice of Russia.''  He
    added that neither the Belgrade authorities nor the opposition
    should exploit the OSCE delegation's visit or its conclusions

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: Vaska Andjelkovic (Tumir)

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/

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